Twenty-twenty was not the best year for Cody Bellinger. The 2019 NL MVP posted career-lows in batting average, OPS, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, home runs, and RBIs. Some of that can be explained by the shortened 56-game season MLB was forced to adopt as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. But Bellinger is much better than he showed last year, and he knows it.
What does Bellinger plan to do in order to bounce back in 2021? Work on his consistency.
"I mean, I had a lot of downtime, so I had a lot of time to think about my swing. And like I said, sometimes you get away from what makes you good just because it's an everyday grind," Bellinger told The Big Lead in partnership with Flonase, his seasonal allergy medication of choice. "So getting back to the things that made me good understanding what makes me good and just trying to be as consistent as I can."
It wasn't all bad for Bellinger and the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2020, of course. Even with Bellinger's off year at the plate, he and his team finally got over the championship hump and won the World Series after two appearances in the three previous iterations of the Fall Classic. Bellinger is excited to get back on the field today for his first-ever attempt at defending a title.
It feels, special, man. But the off season happens fast. You have [only] so much time, you know, to enjoy it. And then it's already getting ready for this season," said Bellinger. "And I don't think we're satisfied with one. I think we have the talent and the mindset to continue to try to win them. Obviously, it's not easy, but that's what we're gonna try to do. And we got the right team for it."
Bellinger burst onto the scene at the major league level in 2017, earning an All-Star appearance in his first MLB season and winning NL Rookie of the Year while placing ninth in MVP voting. Bellinger's ascendance also coincided with legendary Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully's retirement, who called his last game in 2016. Bellinger doesn't have many regrets in his young career thus far, but when asked who he'd most like to call one of his games, Bellinger admitted missing out on a Scully broadcast was disappointing.
"It's unfortunate for me because I've never ever got a game called by Vin Scully. He retired a year before I made my debut. I thought that that would be special."
But Bellinger believes Dodgers fans are lucky with their current home broadcasting crew of Joe Davis and Orel Hershiser. He also believes that the MLB national broadcasting teams are in good hands with Joe Buck, a divisive figure among all sports fans. Bellinger falls on the positive side, believing that Buck's voice means the game is important.
Yeah, I think he gets a lot of hate, but, I mean, he's got the voice for it, you know?" Bellinger said. "You hear Joe Buck, you know, it's a big game on TV."
Bellinger also wants to see what Tony Romo could do in a baseball booth, although he doesn't think Romo could predict what pitch is coming on its way to the plate. The Dodgers superstar would like Snoop Dogg to find his way to a Dodgers booth one of these days.
Bellinger sounds ready for the 2021 season. He and his team have to be prepared. They're at the top of the mountain now, and everyone will be doing their best to unseat the reigning champs. It won't be easy. But Bellinger and his teammates are looking forward to a (hopefully) mostly normal MLB season.
Bellinger spoke to The Big Lead in partnership with Flonase, Bellinger's go-to seasonal allergy product. Of Flonase, Bellinger said, "Normally I wake up with [allergies], so I just got [Flonase] right by my bedside table. I use the Flonase Sensimist. So it's been working really good for me so far."